World Cup Golden Boot: What is it, who has won it & who are the contenders for Russia 2018 top scorer award?

James Rodriguez 2014
Goal takes a look at the Golden Boot award presented to the top scorer at the World Cup finals, including past recipients and potential winners

The FIFA Golden Boot award is the prize given to the tournament's top goalscorer, with Colombia's James Rodriguez the most recent recipient of the award for his efforts at the 2014 finals in Brazil.

It is a major honour that gives a huge boost to player profiles, as it was at the 2014 World Cup where Rodriguez's prolific form earned him international recognition and a move to Real Madrid.

Ahead of this summer's tournament, Goal takes a look at the Golden Boot award – and how it differentiates from the Golden Ball – and names some potential contenders as well as past recipients of the award.

What is the Golden Boot?

The Golden Boot award is presented to the top scorer at each World Cup finals.

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It is not to be confused with the Golden Ball award, which is given to the player who performed the best during the competition, with a shortlist drawn up by the FIFA committee and the finalists voted for by representatives of the media.

The current iteration of the Golden Boot has been ongoing for two tournaments. Before 2010, the award was named the "Golden Shoe" from 1982 to 2006. 

Prior to 1982, there was no award for scoring the most goals in the finals of the World Cup – top scorers were just given the title of "Top Goalscorer" with no formal recognition given.

If two players have scored the same amount of goals during a World Cup tournament, their rankings are judged first by the number of assists made, and then by how many minutes played (if two goalscorers are tied, the player who played fewer minutes will be ranked higher).

Who are previous winners?

James Rodriguez won the award in 2014 after scoring six goals in the finals held in Brazil, registering a further two assists. The Colombian attacking midfielder had looked bright at Monaco prior to the tournament, but the World Cup and his impressive form definitely raised the attention of some of the biggest clubs in the world – including Real Madrid, who came calling later that summer.

Runners-up for the 2014 award include 2010 winner Thomas Muller, who scored five goals and provided three assists (and was also named as the winner of the Silver Boot award, the honour given to the second-best scorer at the tournament). Brazil's Neymar came third in the running for the Golden Boot, scoring four goals and one assist.

World Cup Golden Boot Winner(s) Goals Scored
2014 James Rodriguez (COL) 6
2010 Thomas Muller (GER) 5
2006 Miroslav Klose (GER) 5
2002 Ronaldo (BRA) 8
1998 Davor Suker (CRO) 6
1994 Hristo Stoichkov (BUL), Oleg Salenko (RUS) 6
1990 Salvatore Schillaci (ITA) 6
1986 Gary Lineker (ENG) 6
1982 Paolo Rossi (ITA) 6
1978 Mario Kempes (ARG) 6
1974 Grzegorz Lato (POL) 7
1970 Gerd Muller (FRG) 10
1966 Eusebio (POR) 9
1962 Florian Albert (FRA), Valentin Ivanov (URS), Garrincha (BRA), Vava (BRA) Drazan Jerkovic (YUG), Leonel Sanchez (CHI) 4
1958 Just Fontaine (FRA) 13
1954 Sandor Kocsis (HUN) 11
1950 Ademir (BRA) 8
1938 Leonidas (BRA) 7
1934 Oldrich Nejedly (TCH) 5
1930 Guillermo Stabile (ARG) 8

Who are Golden Boot contenders for World Cup 2018?

England's Harry Kane leads the Golden Boot standings for the 2018 World Cup heading into the knockout rounds with five goals from two games.

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku has four goals from two games, with two apiece coming in wins over Tunisia and Panama. Cristiano Ronaldo also scored four goals in the group phase but Portugal's elimination at the last-16 stage means he will not catch Kane.

France's teenage striker Kylian Mbappe, Uruguay's Edinson Cavani and Russia attacking duo Artem Dzyuba and Denis Cheryshev are in the quarter-finals with three goals scored each, and could threaten Kane for the trophy.

Other outsiders on two goals that remain in the tournament include Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, France forward Antoine Griezmann, Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Uruguay veteran Luis Suarez, and Belgium attacker Eden Hazard.

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Longer shots - but also with two goals scored - are Sweden penalty taker Andreas Granqvist, Colombia centre-back Yerry Mina, and England defender John Stones.

There are dozens of players left in the finals with one goal and it's impossible to rule out these long shots from bagging a hat-trick and catapulting up the race for the latter stages.